Friday 13 July 2012

Olympian cock-ups: the gold medalists

We should have taken heed long ago and been warned by the defiant nature of the aggressive LOCOS defence of the appalling £400k logo, when so many obviously better (and free) designs were offered.

£400k's worth? We think not.
Here was an organisation that was absolutely convinced of its own immutable good judgement and sense and eager to brush off all criticism by hiding behind what must be one of the "ultimate deadlines" in world events - a deadline which left little scope for debate or discussion.

So there was none at virtually every step of the way. Sir Keith Mills (he of Nectar fame) has a fearsome "get it done" reputation, and Lord Coe's political instincts have imbued him with sufficient brass neck to brazen out just about any crisis of confidence. And the remit of the Olympics "at all costs" also leads LOCOS to imply that anyone daring to criticise anything they were up to was being unpatriotic and obstructive.

Anyone questioning LOCOS has been given short shrift, and so the first public fiasco - the ticketing challenge - was swept away in a  tide of "there was no other practical alternative". Oh yes there was.

The choice of the world's most reviled ticketing organisation to mind the reputation of the London Games was taken behind Locos' closed doors like so many other deadlined decisions of this event. The general response when questioned was that Tricketmaster is a large organisation and a safe pair of hands, so it was simply not possible to challenge that decision - or consider the alternative of working with a small local East London operation that lead the word in advanced ticketing technology. And thus the chance to develop a world beating London/British business that could be a shoo in for subsequent games and events like World Cups, was lost.

The current farago around security with G4S - another "safe pair of hands" choice that was beyond question or criticism - is simply astonishing. Anyone with any modicum of common sense would have guessed that G4S would try and recruit low cost staff from around the Olympic site - and following last summer's riots, it is not unfair to suggest that East London would not be a sensible recruiting ground.  

As it happens, the idea that security could now be in the hands of British armed forces is not unwelcome. And there is word that the Military will actually relish the opportunity to be involved and to display its versatility beyond posting its traditional statues around Wimbledon Court..

Maybe a long term idea would be to hand all of G4S public sector remits to the Army to fulfil using soon-to-be redundant personnel - but in a private new business established from the ground up to be "fit for purpose"..?